PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Diamon Simpson scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead St. Mary’s to a 64-50 victory over Portland in the West Coast Conference regular-season finale on Monday.
With the victory, the Gaels (25-5, 12-2) secured the No. 2 seed in the WCC tournament, which begins Thursday in San Diego.
St. Mary’s, which just fell from The Associated Press Top 25, trailed 2-0, but was ahead the rest of the way despite shooting only 38 percent.
Sherrard Watson, playing his final home game, led Portland (9-21, 3-11) with 12 points.
St. Mary’s led 26-22 at the break and extended its advantage to double digits early in the second half. But Portland finally got its offense going and used a 12-5 run to climb to within 41-38 with 9:08 left.
After a time out, the Gaels regained control with a 17-2 run that gave them their largest lead of the night with 5:13 remaining. Point guard Patrick Mills keyed the streak with six points and some hard-nosed defense.
Mills finished with 11 points and his harassing defense was a big factor in Portland’s 19 turnovers. St. Mary’s scored 22 points off those miscues.
Todd Golden added 12 points for St. Mary’s and Omar Samhan had 10.
Nik Raivio joined Watson as the only Pilots in double figures. He had 10.